Research on chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease And the asthmaIt occurs mainly in rich countries. Cultural differences must be taken into account when addressing this in low-income countries. Researcher and clinician Evelyn Brakima conducted doctoral research in a tailored curriculum in Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, Greece and Uganda.
In the Netherlands, chronic lung disease is treated by reducing air pollution and discouraging smoking. In Kyrgyzstan, Brakima noticed that the houses were blue with smoke, because the dung was burning for hours for cooking and heating. The logical solution seems to be to use cookers that emit less smoke. “This has been tried many times, but to no avail, because the devices do not correspond to local beliefs and customs.”
When I asked Prakima residents of the areas I visited the cause of their long-standing respiratory complaints, I got different answers. “In Vietnam, disruption of the balance between heat and cold is thought to cause disease,” Brakema says. The idea is that a hot cigarette on a cold morning has different effects than it does on a hot afternoon. In Uganda, residents suspect witchcraft is involved.”
Brakema and her team have also achieved practical success with their research at FRESH AIR. For example, the local team in Kyrgyzstan was able to involve the Minister of Health and health workers were informed about the prevention of chronic lung disease.
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